Neuro study shows outdoor advertising's impact, measured and ready to use

OMA and Neuro-Insight's 'neuro-impact factor' measures quality and impact of OOH in 2022 edition of MOVE system

Outdoor Media Australia (OMA) and its research partner, Neuro-Insight, are claiming to have found the holy grail of outdoor advertising in world-first results launched jointly today. 

The 'grail' is proof that advertising on both traditional and digital out-of-home (OOH) signs have the power to deliver emotional impact in a one- or two-second glance; that traditional OOH ads have as much impact as a 30-second radio commercial or 15-second TVC; and that evolving digital signs on average 63 per cent more impact than the traditional, unchanging format.  

OMA CEO, Charmaine Moldrich, said the research used a new qualitative measure, called the neuro-impact factor, which will be incorporated into next year’s edition of OMA’s audience measurement system, MOVE, to help business plan and buy media for their next campaign. 

Modrich described the research and the resulting new measurement as undeniable, scientific proof of the subconscious impact of advertising. At a glance, an OOH sign is sufficient for brand messages to elicit an emotional response that encodes into long-term memory - and can influence future behaviour. 

The research validates earlier studies showing memory and emotion are crucial to driving long-term memory encoding and also confirms other research that underlined that, when out and about, people are twice as alert as when indoors. 

Read more: MOVE looks to neuroscience metri

At the online launch, Neuro-Insight CEO, Peter Pynta, put it into a consumer context.

"If your brand wants to be part of a consumer’s future, it must get into long-term memory. Memory encoding or mental availability is a cornerstone of advertising effectiveness," he said. “What we’ve measured in our study is the building blocks to advertising effectiveness. [These include] mental availability, the probability that a buyer will notice, recognise your brand in a buying situation – which is triggered by life events, with details recorded into memory and fuelled by emotion.

“This research goes beyond the ‘how many’ part of the equation that comprises most mature media measurement. With the neuro-impact factor, we have brought in the dimension of quality in a scalable way. We finally have three parts of the triangle of reach, frequency and now impact [quality and long-term memory encoding] - and I hope the market shares our vision.” 

By measuring peak moments of long-term memory encoding and emotional intensity in the brain, Neuro-Insight was able to evaluate the impact of OOH signs on the audience. The study recorded more than 2000 people’s reactions to more than 800 signs in different formats, weighted so that results were not driven by creative. From this, it accumulated more than 1 million data points. 

Avenue C managing partner, Pia Coyle, said the OMA has simplified something which is complex and robust.  

“Boiling it down to one factor by format is going to help agencies to adopt it quickly,” said Coyle. “The methodology behind the study is thorough so we’re excited to bring the neuro-impact factor into the vernacular when talking about outdoor. We’ve always known there’s more to outdoor. Now we’ve got an extra dimension beyond reach, frequency, site-card, or location to bring that to life."

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